Jacob van der Ulft (Gorinchem 1627-1689 Noordwijk)
Jacob van der Ulft (Gorinchem 1627-1689 Noordwijk)

View of Tivoli from the north

Jacob van der Ulft (Gorinchem 1627-1689 Noordwijk)
View of Tivoli from the north
inscribed and dated 'Ville de Tivoli. Fecit 1673.' (on a strip of paper attached to the verso)
traces of black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white in the foreground and on the tree at the right (oxidized), watermark Strasburg Lily with WR, countermark IHS (Name of Jesus), brown ink framing lines, minor ink gall damage
12 5/8 x 17 3/8 in. (2.1 x 44.1 cm.)
Possibly with R.W.P. de Vries, Amsterdam; from whom purchased by I.Q. van Regteren Altena on 3 May 1929 for 10 guilders (Inventory book: '698. t. J. v. d. Ulft Italiaansche ruïne').
M.D. Henkel, 'Holländische Zeichnungen in Brüssel', Pantheon, XXI, 1938, no. 2, p. 58, illustrated.
M.D. Henkel, 'Hollandsche teekeningen in Brussel', Maandblad voor Beeldende Kunsten, XV, 1938, p. 48, pl. 15.
W. Bernt, Die Niederländischen Zeichner des 17. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1958, II, no. 578.
C. van Hasselt, in Dessins des paysagistes hollandais du XVIIe siècle, exhib. cat., Brussels, Rotterdam, Paris and Bern, 1968-69, p. 154, under no. 150, note 7.
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Dessins hollandais de Jérôme Bosch à Rembrandt, 1937-38, no. 142, pl. LXXXVI (catalogue by F. Schmidt-Degener).
Amsterdam, Koninklijk Oudheidkundig Genootschap, Rome, 1940 (no catalogue published).
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Claude Lorrain und die Meister der Römischen Landschaft im XVII. Jahrhundert, 1964-65, no. 338, pl. 47 (catalogue by W. Koschatzky et al.).
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Paris, Fondation Custodia, and Brussels, Bibliothèque Albert 1er, Le Cabinet d’un Amateur: Dessins flamands et hollandais des XVIe et XVIIe siècles d’une collection privée d’Amsterdam, 1976-77, no. 134, pl. 69 (catalogue by J. Giltaij).
Cambridge, Mass., Arthur M. Sackler Museum and Montreal, Museum of Fine Arts, Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, 1988, no. 88, illustrated (catalogue by F.J. Duparc).
Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, In de ban van Italië: Tekeningen uit een Amsterdamse verzameling, 1995, no. 27 (catalogue by I. Oud, M. Jonker and M. Schapelhouman).
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Drawn to Warmth: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Artists in Italy, 2001, pp. 198-99, fig. C., p. 213, note 13 (catalogue by P. Schatborn).

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Lot Essay

One of the artist's most impressive and imposing drawings, this shows the town of Tivoli from the north, with its immediately recognisable Temple of the Sibyl, and its famous cascades just hidden by the greenery on the left of the drawing. Despite the convincing appearance of the view, however, it is most unlikely to be a study from life. All the evidence suggests that van der Ulft never visited Italy: on the contrary, he seems to have spent virtually his entire life in the town of Gorinchem in the western Netherlands, where he served as a governor of the orphanage from 1661. The 1988 catalogue also notes several errors in the topography, such as the fact that the Temple of the Sibyl is shown with too few columns, and emphasises that the view has the carefully-composed appearance of a landscape drawn in the studio to impress with its elegance, rather than having been taken precisely from life. Dated 1673, on a strip of paper attached to the verso, it was probably inspired by or copied from a work by another artist, although no exact prototype is known. Many of van der Ulft’s drawings of this type were inspired by the works of Jan de Bisschop and the technique, certainly, is adopted from de Bisschop, with its smooth layers of translucent brown wash set off with highlights derived from the untouched white of the paper. It is a particularly large drawing for van der Ulft, who normally worked on a smaller scale, and the composition is remarkably effective, with Tivoli bathed in sunlight on its hillside and framed in the foreground by a dark sweep of woodland. Another drawing of similar size, showing a Roman landscape and also dated 1673, was sold at Hôtel Drouot (Maître Renaud), Paris, on 7 November 1979, lot 154.

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